Been away for what seems like a lifetime. Here are some notes:
I'm in the Premier Inn in Chesterfield, in the middle, or just outside (it makes no difference) a huge roundabout, opposite Tescos Extra (large): Tescos Excess, and outside an orange painted cottage, the 'Flamin Grill', next to a drive-in KFC, and a Costa. The underpasses are both leafy and scary and unused unless you've got nerve. My impression stuck outside said 'Flamin Grill' and 'listening' is that Chesterfield is a) one giant child support agency and b) a place where Chicken Tonight is still a funny joke. I notice guys flap their arms and stroke their companion's arses at the very thought.
The bar at the Premier Inn seems like the place to be, it is an honest transit camp in the float to fuck all. If you get up early enough the car park is full, by 10am it's empty. Reyner Banham was right, we now live in our cars. You certainly can't quite live in the Premier Inn (but you can make the best of it).
I am not moaning. But weirdly (listening again) they've all driven from Vegas to the Grand Canyon, they've all seen the world, I hear it all around me, it's just that this is what they come back to, like those pigeons, for these guys travel never broadens the mind: as far as they are concerned the point seems to remain EXACTLY the same.
Ian Nairn, a writer whose appeal I still don't quite understand, but who was most vigorous on the notion of decent towns, would have been appalled at our situation. I fear I have a more apocalyptic vision than even he would provide. He would especially have raged, after attempting to eat the worst curry he'd ever tasted on Curry Night- you know it's bad if you just taste the curry powder coupled with a distinct lack of ingredients -to be asked to fill out a questionnaire on his dining experience. It would have been obvious to him that if they spent more resources on teaching people to cook and more resources on decent produce, they would make such exercises redundant. However, tragically the reverse has happened and everybody now runs around evaluating everybody else's experience of total crap.
Thinking about it all I'm driven to draw a map of WW3 as it begins to happen (on the iPad of course, and shown above). We have little idea who we are fighting, but we know its there. We also know that more soldiers now commit suicide than actually die on the front line (whatever that is). To feel the need to draw such a thing shows just how bad such places can make you feel (until you get back in your car). And that is no comment on the lovely staff at Premier Inn, because it's is hardly their fault.